O’DonnellBrown gets go-ahead for £1.2m community centre retrofit

The Glasgow-based practice will overhaul the Take A Bow Opportunity Centre in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, for the performing arts-focused Take A Bow Development Trust.

Take A Bow Development Trust has become Kilmarnock’s main community anchor organisation since it began managing the centre in January 2019.

Until that point, the 1970s concrete building had been the New Farm Loch Community Centre, owned and managed by East Ayrshire Council.

O’DonnellBrown was selected to carry out a feasibility study for the building’s refurbishment and extension in summer 2021.

The architects will repair and upgrade the 1970s concrete building, which sits in the centre of New Farm Loch estate, to reduce its energy consumption and carbon emissions by an estimated 70 per cent.

They will also extend the centre to include new changing facilities for an existing theatre, reconfigure the layout of the ground floor toilets, bar and reception area, and add a lift.

The architects have designed an extension ‘wrapped into’ the existing facilities, with a new timber colonnade leading to an entrance canopy.


Take A Bow Interior Axo

They worked closely with energy consultant Carbon Futures, using digital twin technology retrofit modelling to simulate different enhancements to the building.

Enhanced roof and fabric insulation, a new air source heat pump and intelligent LED lighting will all reduce the building’s energy consumption, carbon emissions and running costs.

A funding target for the new project was reached with money from Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, East Ayrshire Council Renewable Energy Fund, The Place Fund, Climate Challenge CARES Funding and UK Government Community Ownership Funding.

The project is due to start on site in October for completion in August 2024.

India Czulowska-Burns, project architect at O’DonnellBrown, said the firm had worked closely with the Take A Bow team ‘to develop a design which is closely attuned to both their needs and the needs of the wider community, that reimagines this well-used and well-loved community building’.

She added: ‘Our objective extends beyond accommodating the trust’s requirements; it also focuses on improving the building’s fabric performance, while trying to capture the joy of Take A Bow’s ethos in the architectural designs.’

John McManus, chair of Take A Bow Development Trust, said: ‘We look to create a dynamic community facility that will operate as a Community Hub and Opportunities Centre to continue to meet the needs of the local community.’

O’DonnellBrown is currently also on site with a retrofit scheme for the Friends of Millport Town Hall, to restore and reopen the existing town hall on the Isle of Cumbrae, and is working with children’s charity Barnardo’s on Gap Homes, an initiative designing a new typology for young adults leaving the care system.


Location Fraser Walk, Kilmarnock
Existing gross internal floor area 1,070m²
Proposed gross internal floor area 1,191m²

Total cost £1.2 million
Client Take A Bow Development Trust
Architect O’DonnellBrown
Structural engineer David Narro Associates
Services engineer Hawthorne Boyle
Quantity surveyor Armour Construction Consultants
Energy consultant Carbon Futures
Building surveyor Kerr Baxter Associates